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It is very easy to find a "Mandarin teacher" on the internet. For example, a Chinese student studying in the UK who "teaches" Mandarin part-time and without any language teaching experience.
But it is very difficult to find a truly professional Mandarin teacher who speaks Mandarin to the highest level of proficiency and without any accent or dialect.
In China, Mandarin teachers are strictly ranked according to how they perform in the Putonghua Shuiping Ceshi ("PSC") Test which is an official test of spoken fluency in Mandarin developed by the Chinese Ministry of Education. For more information please see their Wikipedia entry.
Mandarin teachers in China are ranked according to the six categories of proficiency shown below.
Levels and Grades
Requirements of each Level
Level of Mandarin proficiency required for specific professions
Correct pronunciation in oral reading and free conversation, using correct vocabulary and grammar, correct and natural intonation with fluent expression.
National and provincial radio and television presenters, programme hosts.
Correct pronunciation in oral reading and free conversation, using correct vocabulary and grammar, correct and natural intonation with fluent expression. Occasional mistakes with pronunciation and tones.
Local radio and television presenters, programme hosts.
Chinese language teachers in Northern China.
Actors and voice overs for drama, film, television, radio and other performances.
Correct pronunciation in oral reading and free conversation with a naturally fluent intonation. Rare mistakes with difficult sound (nasal sounds, etc). Rare mistakes in vocabulary and grammar.
Teachers of Mandarin to speakers of other languages of other languages.
Chinese language teachers in Southern China.
Occasional mistakes in oral reading and conversation. Lack of accuracy with specific tones, vowels and consonants. No obvious dialect accent but occasional use of dialect words and grammar.
Teachers in schools and nurseries.
Students who apply for teaching qualification training.
A number of mistakes with vowels and consonants in oral reading and conversation. Obvious dialect accent. Vocabulary and grammar mistakes.
National civil servants.
Level 1A denotes the highest level of proficiency in Mandarin (top 3%). Level 1B denotes the second highest (the next 5%).
All of the Academy's Mandarin teachers hold PSC certificates showing that they speak Mandarin to Level 1B and above (i.e. the top 8%). Although the requirement for Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages is Level 2A (error less than 13%), the Academy insists on only having teachers who have achieved Level 1 because we strongly believe that your time is precious and you certainly do not want to waste time learning “incorrect Chinese”!
As a result, the Academy's students typically emerge speaking Mandarin correctly and without an accent or dialect as can so often be the case with students who use "Mandarin teachers" with a lower level of proficiency according to the PSC Test.
So, when selecting your "Mandarin teacher", make sure you ask to see his or her PSC Certificate, together with a certified teaching qualification such as the IPA (International Profession Certification Association), ICA (International Chinese Language Teachers Association) or an equivalent degree such as TCSOL (Teaching Chinese as a Second Language).